Skip to main content

Goa’s heavy pollution raises health concerns and necessitates exit from coal

July 13, 2021

Hakai Magazine: 

In February this year, there were unseasonal rain showers in Vāsco Da Gāma, a port town along India’s western coastline, in its smallest state, Goa. When that water fell off Liby Mendonca’s sloping roof and collected on her porch, it was black.

To Mendonca this wasn’t a surprise but a reminder of the constant presence of coal dust in her life. Her home is a few hundred meters from the Mormugao Port Trust, which receives coal from mines in Australia and South Africa. Subsidiaries of three private Indian companies, JSW Group, Vedanta Limited, and Adani Group, with diverse and global business portfolios ranging from coal mines to real estate, lease berths at the government-owned port to import this coal.

While Goa is a tourist favorite for its sun and sandy beaches, Vāsco, as the locals call it, has little to offer. The dusty town has more concrete structures than scenic beauty, a contrast to the aesthetic Portuguese architecture and greenery that dominate the rest of the state. Impoverished fishing villages and low-income housing line the coast. The area also has slums where migrant workers live in cramped and unhygienic conditions.

[ Disha Shetty ]

More: In Goa, the water runs black

Join our newsletter

Keep up to date with all the latest from IEEFA